Sports have always been a part of my life. My father coached college football, and baseball so I attended my first game as an infant. Fall Saturdays during my childhood meant dressing up to go to Dad's games. Many winter nights were spent at hockey games. And spring meant baseball. I learned to score at a fairly young age, and served as bat girl for several of the teams my Dad coached.
The college I went to is not what I'd call sports crazy. As a women's college it doesn't have a football team for people to rally around, and attendance at sports events is usually limited to other athletes and families. When I was a student I attended only a couple sports events - the Head of the Charles (crew races) and one field hockey game. Oh, and a Harvard-Dartmouth football game, and the Harvard-Yale game my freshman year. The Harvard-Dartmouth game was mostly about the party after, and the Harvard-Yale game was with my mother, brother (a Yale student) and a couple of my cousins. My wife grew up in a family that didn't follow sports so we haven't spent a lot of time watching sports.
I have remained a great fan of softball and baseball. I umpire and coach during the summer. I'll watch softball on TV when it's there, and have spent many an hour watching the Little League world series.
The sports facilities at my alma mater are a whole lot better now than when I was there. Like many sports related events in my life I'm too old to have taken advantage of them although I do swim in the pool there regularly.
Several years ago Wellesley undertook the cleanup of a toxic waste dump at the edge of the campus. (The toxic waste was dumped by the factory which used to be on the site.) Once the cleanup was done the College converted some of the land to new sports fields. The rest is reclaimed wetlands. Among the new fields is a softball stadium which makes me drool every time I drive by, and I drive by frequently since I live nearby.
I've thought about going to a softball game there many times. Finally in March I took the leap and went to a game. And I got hooked. A friend asked recently what my connection was. I don't think I would have been asked that if I'd gone to Penn State and the sport was football.
I've attended almost every home game since then (The picture above was taken just over a week ago at a game there.), and one away game - conveniently held at the university where I work. Which brings us to this weekend. With a pair of wins last weekend my college's softball team qualified for the playoffs for their athletic conference. They won their first and second games on Wednesday. The semi-finals were more than an hour away, but I couldn't stay away. So with Amy's blessing off I went yesterday.
In yesterday's outing the team outhit Springfield College to qualify for today's finals. I had other plans for today, but just couldn't miss this game. So I canceled those plans and got back in the car this morning.
The day was grey and cold. There was occasional precipitation. But it was a glorious day. I reached the tournament early enough to watch the end of the last semi-final game. The final game was a pitcher's duel. A beautiful diving, sliding catch by Wellesley's left fielder, Megan Wood, in the top of the 4th saved a no-hitter for pitcher Jenna Harvey. And in the end it was Megan's solid single to right in the bottom of the 7th with 2 on that led to Wellesley's win and the championship.
Mid-afternoon a bus load of ecstatic young women left Springfield headed east. I'd hazard a guess that they didn't really need the bus. Those women, the ones with the great big grins pictured below, could have flown back on wings of happiness buoyed by the knowledge that their hard work, dedication and teamwork helped them achieve this first.
Thanks to Sunday Scribblings for the inspiration to write.
The official press release on the game is here.